There are many reasons young people try out bullying and a number of specific risk factors have been identified. But we suggest that one common denominator of an emerging bully, identical to the factors involved with the decision to join a gang, is that underlying lack of hope.
There is a desperate tone in the inner voice of a bully—that there is no hope in fitting in — so why not gain acceptance through dominance? If you perceive that you aren’t being allowed into the circle, then punish those who you believe are keeping you out. And all too often, there’s no one there with an alternative.
Our job then, is to infuse hope.
As adults, we need to show the hopeless that there is a better way, fill the voids that created the behavior and help the bully find the better angel within. But that’s only after we’ve helped provide for or otherwise support the safety of the victim.
And that’s what constitutes a best practice when it comes to bullying. Perhaps the best practice.
Bobby Kipper and Bud Ramey have co-authored two books and numerous articles on the crisis in youth violence plaguing our culture, addressing “best practices” for making a difference in the gang crisis and bullying epidemic that is impacting an entire generation. Over 4,400 young people committed suicide last year, largely due to the bullying epidemic. Their books, No BULLIES : Solutions for Saving Our Children from Today’s Bully and No COLORS : 100 Ways to Stop Gangs from Taking Away Our Communities, offer advocacy for at-risk youth.
Bobby Kipper, Director and Founder of the National Center for the Prevention of Community Violence, is a career law enforcement officer with extensive experience in the area of preventing youth and community violence nationwide. His background includes working on a number of key national initiatives with the White House, Congress, and the Department of Justice.
Bud Ramey is the 2010 Public Affairs Silver Anvil Award winner of the Public Relations Society of America—the highest public affairs recognition in the world. His grassroots public affairs and humanitarian successes and advocacy for at-risk youth stretch across three decades.